So it was that I heard of the mysterious AYAB (All Yarns Are Beautiful) - a little computer board and custom program that with an Arduino can instruct a Brother electronic knitting machine to do just about anything. I did not own a Brother electronic knitting machine. I had not seen a second hand one for sale in my area. But late in the summer I finally found a KH950 with ribber for a reasonable price and I pounced.
|Hacked at the U of O Makerspace|
My delight at producing this dumb little swatch was almost as great as the amazement of the 20-something student who helped me install the AYAB at how fast the machine could produce actual knitting. (Quite a few 20 somethings came over to ask what the heck that machine was, anyway...)
As I was engaged in this exercise, news of the amazing Australian knitter/software engineer who literally knitted a map of the universe hit all the sites, and friends kept sending me links. She uses AYAB!
So my late 1980s knitting machine technology was brought up to date and can now be controlled by way of a graphics editor running on a modern laptop. Goodbye, 550 random built-in 1980s patterns, hello unlimited knitting potential!
I downloaded GIMP which is free and seems pretty powerful although for my purposes I only need the most basic function (making pixels black or white). I found a video tutorial on YouTube that explains it very clearly.
|Chart made in GIMP|
Once I finished knitting the chart, I set the machine to knit plain and continued for an unknown number of rows for a lining for my tea cozy (the stranded pattern has some really long floats that would get caught on things). This was super approximate.
AYAB automatically reverses the design so the knitted piece is the same as the original chart, not reversed left to right. This would be very handy if knitting text, for example.
Today I steamed the piece to control the curling edges and sewed it up with my sewing machine. It is basically a lined tube that is gathered at the top with a length of machine-knitted I-cord.
If it was the right size it would make a dandy hat, or a very warm cowl.